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U2: Perfect fit for Hurry-Up
     Posted on Thursday, February 07 @ 00:17:55 UTC by Macphisto writes "The precision required for Super Bowl halftime shows often meant the big stars had to prerecord their singing.

But for Super Bowl XXXVI, getting U2 to perform meant only constructing the band's heart-shaped stage in the space of a commercial break.

The success of the Irish band's 2001 tour was based on an anything-can-happen anticipation, and its halftime performance began with frontman Bono breaking tackles from fans as he made his way to the stage singing "Beautiful Day."

With his seasoned band churning behind him, this was a group clearly used to big events, big crowds and big statements.

Part of the reason U2 was asked to play was the way its songs fit the mood of mourning, healing and resolve that followed Sept. 11.

In concerts last fall, its approach to the tragedy was overpowering yet understated: The projections of thousands of victims' names as U2 played its solemn "One." For the Super Bowl, the effect took on the epic proportions of the Louisiana Superdome, with names stretching up a banner hung from the 10-story ceiling and even then spilling into the seats.

But Sunday, instead of "One," U2 chose a bigger hit with more uplift, "Where The Streets Have No Name." Its verses of searching, as well as its triumphant vow of "still building then burning down love," challenged an audience imbued with daylong segments on patriotism to find a source of love.

Only then did Bono reveal, with admirable subtlety, the American flag lining of his coat, as if to demonstrate beneath his rock star exterior, he's with his U.S. fans on this most American of days.

The unbridled patriotism - and a more traditional approach to Super Bowl performances - was left to the lengthy pregame show which, after some live glimpses at No Doubt and Barenaked Ladies early on, was left largely to a "Salute to America." It began with a curiously balanced song by Barry Manilow, "Let Freedom Ring," with Yolanda Adams, James Ingram, Patti LaBelle and Wynonna adding heft and soul to the choruses.

Paul McCartney was introduced with a clip of his work with the Beatles and Wings. He ran to the midfield stage accompanied by scores of cheerleaders to sing his "Freedom," as a Keith Haring-like banner of the Statue of Liberty unfurled behind him.

The work of the Boston Pops was mostly heard and not seen, replaced by a filmed tribute to Lincoln involving a series of ex-presidents.

The Pops also played behind Marc Anthony and Mary J. Blige as they sang "America the Beautiful," an easy task for him, but something she rose to accomplish.

Likewise, the national anthem was a breeze for Mariah Carey, who fairly glowed with the knowledge she could do no wrong, since her vocals were prerecorded.

Copyright 2002, Hartford Courant "


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